Friday, April 19, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Mebane residents speak out against city joining ‘divisive’ group


Mebane’s city council heard Monday night from several residents who expressed opposition to a proposal to spend $1,000 in taxpayer funds to join a racial equity alliance (see related story, this edition).

See story on presentation about joining the Government Alliance on Race & Equity:

During the public comments portion of the council’s latest meeting, Ed Priola of 747 South Eighth Street, Mebane, said the proposal to join the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE) – to advance objectives such as abolishing white supremacy – sounds “an awful lot like bigotry and overt racism.”

Ed Priola

The city’s Racial and Equity Advisory Committee (REAC) had previously recommended that the council join the Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE), which the council heard a presentation on Monday night.

- Advertisement -

Priola said his research had revealed that, Ashley De Marco, a research scientist at UNC -Chapel Hill who gave the presentation about GARE Monday night, describes herself as a “co-facilitator” for a group called “Organizing against Racism,” which lists among its objectives that “white people must deconstruct their internalized racial superiority…and must develop a deeper awareness of the power, privilege, and property they have in a racialized society.” (De Marco, incidentally, is white.)

“This council, after increasing property taxes, when people are struggling to put food on the table and avoid being evicted from their homes because they can’t pay those higher taxes, is considering wasting taxpayer money to help a bigoted, radical, political advocacy

Story continues below special subscription offer.]

The Alamance News provides more local government news about each of Alamance County’s cities, towns, and communities than is available anywhere else.  Subscribe now so you won’t miss a single story.  You’ll need to subscribe to have unlimited access to this and all other local news stories.

organization perpetuate their propaganda, ” Priola told the council during public comments Monday night. He added, “That sounds an awful lot like one more opportunity to feed a pet project with taxpayer money,” and asked what metrics that the city would establish to determine whether the $1,000 membership fee for Mebane to join GARE is a sound use of taxpayers’ money.

Peter Huff of 134 Edinborough Drive, Mebane, told the council, “I have to agree with our previous speaker. My question is why are we funding an organization and what impact is that going to have? Are we steering a way from determining a person’s value based on something other than the content of their character?”

Peter Huff

Brenda Pattison of 716 Buena Vista Road, Mebane, said she opposes “using any public funds toward people, whether it’s dividing by sex, the color of our skin.

Brenda Pattison

“We have two amendments to our Constitution that address such issues,” Pattison reminded the council. “If you want to keep Mebane ‘positively charming,’ you don’t have it divided block by block. No money should go towards anything that divides people in that way.”

Carolyn Burns of 600 Bunker Drive, Mebane, told the council, “The term equity is a trendy word – it means forced fairness and justice, where the outcomes are not determined by the individual; personal merit does not naturally come into the equation.

Carolyn Burns

“When we look at the world of professional sports, we see a perfect example of what I’m trying to say,” Burns elaborated. “Some sports have a majority of black individuals. Should we take a wrecking ball to that area of opportunity and million-dollar paychecks? Of course not.”

Burns noted that most of the other counties and municipalities that have joined GARE are concentrated in “liberal areas,” and that the mission of the organization is predicated on the belief that racism permeates every aspect of American life.

“Seattle, Portland, New York City, and San Francisco have all embraced the politics of equity,” Burns said Monday night. “I do not see a model of success in any of those cities.”

No residents spoke in favor of joining GARE during the public comments portion of the council’s latest meeting.

The council voted 4-1 to table a vote on joining GARE until more specific information could be provided at a future meeting.

Read the newspaper’s editorial page views on the issue:

Must Read

Veterans’ group seeks free use of park for balloon festival

A local advocacy group for veterans seemed to aim for the stratosphere this week when it appeared before the county’s board of commissioners to...